United States Department of Agriculture
Forest Service

  ROS Primer and Field Guide

social icon Social Encounters

This factor refers to the number and type of other recreationists met along travelways, or camped within sight or sound of others. This setting indicator measures the extent to which an area provides experiences such as solitude, or the opportunity for social interaction. Increasing the number of visitors to an area changes the kind of recreation experience offered, attracting new users and causing others to leave.

* 6 parties or less met per day. Less than 3 visible parties campsite. 6-15 parties met per day. 6 or less parties seen at campsite. Moderate to high contact on roads. Moderate to low on trails and developed sites. Moderate to high contact in developed sites on roads and trails. Large numbers of users on site and in nearby areas. High number of social encounters.
Primitive Norm Incon. Unacceptable Unacceptable Unacceptable
Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized Compatible Norm Incon. Unacceptable Unacceptable
Semi-Primitive Motorized Compatible Norm Incon. Unacceptable Unacceptable
Roaded Natural Compatible Compatible Norm Incon. Unacceptable
Rural Compatible Compatible Compatible Norm Incon.
Urban Compatible Compatible Compatible Compatible Norm

* See regional supplements for party size limitations.

photograph: a campsite at the base of a mountain

Minimizing the number of parties visible from campsites is one of the most critical social encounter elements to users of Primitive and Semi-Primitive settings. This example represents the ultimate in solitude; no other parties are visible.

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